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The James city Cavalry. [from the Richmond Dispatch, June 16, 1896.] its organization and its first service. Movement in Pope's rear. A successful charge upon a picket post-some sounds of revelry-attacking a train-roll of the Company.

Toano, June 1, 1896.
To the Editor of the Dispatch:
After the battle of Malvern Hill the cavalry turned its head north, and haltedten days or more near Hanover Courthouse. The 5th Regiment, of which the James City Cavalry was a part, camped in Mrs. Winston's field, which was dotted over with wheat shocks, [354] affording shelter and food for an innumerable host of harvest-bugs. These bugs put themselves upon terms of great familiarity with the men, crawling over them and seeming to have a fancy for exploring the depths of the ears of the sleepers. The shrieks and groans of the sufferers oftimes made night hideous, and aroused the whole camp. The aid of the surgeon was invoked, and his skill was tested in extracting the bores. While here Colonel Rosser made the acquaintance of the beautiful and classic Miss Winston, and began the most successful campaign of an active and aggressive soldier's life. Here, too, I was detailed as judge of a court-martial, of which Stephen D. Lee was president—a man to whom the coming reunion will give an international fame. While we were sitting upon an important case the cavalry started upon a march, and we were ordered to our respective commands.

After an uneventful march of many miles we halted near the Rappahannock, upon an ideal camping ground—a high, dry, clean oak grove, whose brown leaves were so inviting that many of the jaded horses were lying down before their saddles could be taken off. There was one man, E. M. Ware, who did not dismount, but sought the favor of going in search of better rations. He soon returned, elated with his success. He had traded his uncooked rations for good family fare and arranged to have loaf-bread, butter, honey, and milk so long as he might need them; but before these things came to hand ‘boots and saddles’ sounded, and we were on our way up the river, the James City Cavalry acting as advance guard.

After crossing the river and passing through many villages, we came to Warrenton. Here I stopped long enough to call out Dr. Joel S. Bacon, once President of Columbian College, to shake his hands and ask about Josie, of whom I had pleasant reminiscences. We turned down the first street leading east, and were halted about a half-mile from the town, upon the brow of a hill commanding a beautiful view. Upon looking back, we saw that the whole of Stuart's Cavalry had dismounted in the town, and there was such a stir and commotion as to excite one's curiosity. But looking to the east, we descried something slowly approaching us. Nearer and nearer it came, until I ordered four men to capture it, and it proved to be a suttler's wagon. The wagon and driver we put in charge of A. B. Willis—‘K.’ is now marked opposite his name on the roster. Willis knew more about basket-making than he did about cavalry tactics, yet when he brought his sabre to a carry, reined up his gray [355] mare, and took command of an unarmed suttler, he looked every inch a soldier.

Cause of the stir.

When Willis returned from the delivery of his charge to the quartermaster he explained the town's stir: The citizens had ordered Stuart to halt his column long enough to eat the dinners prepared for themselves, and handed around by the ladies, who did not take time to don hats and aprons. It is a pity to draw the brush over this lovely picture, but truth demands that I should say that the watching, waiting, vanguard was forgotten! All that we got was a pelting, driving rain. The dinner over, the orderly dashed up and said: ‘The General orders that you push ahead and cross Cedar creek, now swollen by the rain, unless your horses have to swim.’ Our zeal pronounced the creek fordable, although it was angry, dashing, crashing and swollen much beyond its usual limits.

After a dangerous struggle we crossed, and sent back word that it would be impossible to get the artillery over. Ah! who can tell what would have been the result if the artillery could have crossed? After marching a short distance, we came to a splendid mansion on our left, whose lawn was extended to the road, and was reached on foot by a stile. Here we halted and called out the owner, a ruddy, hearty old man. In reply to our questions he gave unsatisfactory answers.

His manner changed.

While the interview was going on he was joined by his daughter, whose countenance was sad and downcast. In a few seconds her face was illuminated; smiles rippled over her cheeks; she clapped her hands, and exclaimed: ‘Oh, father, these are our boys. Don't you see the gray beneath their overcoats?’ The old man leaped from the stile and began handshaking and questioning, but ‘on’ was the word, and on we went. Next an orderly came, in full gallop, with the order to charge anything in our way except artillery. On we dashed. The shades of night were gathering fast; the rain was coming down in torrents, and we had no idea how far from us was our support; but we knew from horse-tracks and an occasional straggler that we were nearing the enemy. About half an hour after sunset our guide, who was every inch a guide, advised us to charge an old Colonial brick church, the headquarters of the enemy's picket-post. With a rush the charge was made, with complete success. The rain had driven in all the pickets, who had lighted up the [356] church, and were enjoying a bountiful supper. It was the work of a minute to disarm these men and send them to the rear, with the information that nearly all of the vanguard were guarding prisoners, and that I needed help, but would not wait for it. On we dashed, and about a hour after sunset we came in full sight of Pope's wagon-train at Bristoe Station. It was a time of intense excitement. Minutes lengthened into hours, and hours would have been days. The lurid lightning was flashing thick and fast, the thunder would have dwarfed a corps of man's artillery; the rain was a down-pour, mules were tramping and neighing, smouldering camp-fires were fast going out, but the lightning occasionally revealed wagons, mules, and hay. And, above all, we did not know when to expect our support.

Sounds of revelry.

Near by us sounds of revelry broke upon our ears, and the music of the violin and the tread of the dancers oddly mixed with the surrounding sounds and scenes. E. M. Ware and C. W. Hubbard ventured up to the banquet-hall, and brought the information that the house was full of dancing officers and women. But we were afraid to make arrests lest an outcry be raised. While waiting for reinforcements, a Federal surgeon—the lightning told us what he was—rode up to us. He was rushed to the rear, with orders not to say a word. He was splendidly mounted, and oh, how I wished to exchange my outfit for his. Stuart, Fitz. Lee, Roony Lee and Rosser all came up together. Orders were speedily given for the attack, Rosser to charge straight ahead and to tear up the railroad-track, but no axes had been prepared for this work. Suppose they had been, who can tell what would have been the result? Rosser headed his men in the charge, but before they had gone a hundred yards the whole regiment was floundering in a railroad-cut filled with water. This difficulty was overcome, but we had to undergo a still worse one on the east side of the track; and yet this was also surmounted without the loss of life, but not without the loss of temper. By the time we had shaken off the water from ourselves, and poured it out of our carbines, the main attack on the right had begun. Yells, cheers, groans, reports of pistols and carbines, and the clashing of sabres were heard, and the noise of the train that was returning from Pope's headquarters was rapidly nearing. This was our business, and so Rosser drew up his regiment in line facing the track, and ordered a fire upon the passing train. This was done in good style, [357] and the bullets could be distinctly heard crashing through the cars. The surprise was complete, the attack a success. And now, having brought my narrative down to where history begins, I close with the remark that in the strategic move in Pope's rear the James City Cavalry was the vanguard, and did its duty dashingly, heroically and efficiently.

I append a roster of the company.

The roster.

The James City Cavalry, Company H, Fifth Regiment, was mustered into service in the city of Williamsburg by Colonel Munford, May 22, 1861. There were so few members enrolled that a little cheating was done in order to get it accepted. It subsequently made such a reputation, that it was more difficult to keep out recruits than it was to gain them. It never lost a man by transfer, and only one by exchange. Major B. B. Douglas once remarked to me: ‘Your company illustrates the fact that educated gentlemen always make good soldiers.’ This company was a close follower of Rosser, Fitz. Lee, Payne, Lomax, and Stuart, and was a sufferer with Early in his Valley campaign.

Captains.—G. E. Geddy, dead; James H. Allen, wounded; L. W. Lane, wounded.

Lieutenants.—M. A. Meanley, dead; Andrew Hockaday; George E. Bush, dead; C. W. Hubbard, killed; J. F. Hubbard; E. M. Ware, wounded and prisoner, dead; J. W. Morecock, killed.

Sergeants.—G. E. Richardson, wounded—sabre cut—and prisoner; R. H. Whitaker, dead; J. T. James, dead; G. B. Ratcliffe, dead; M. R. Harrell, wounded, Felix Pierce, dead; R. E. Taylor; John Cowles, dead.

Corporals.—S. S. Hankins, prisoner; D. W. Spencer; G. A. Piggott, dead; C. W. Cowles, wounded—sabre cut—and prisoner, dead; G. W. Tyree; J. W. Manning, dead.

Privates.—Richard Apperson, unknown; G. W. Bacon;——Ball, unknown; J. H. Barnes, prisoner; Basil B. Bennett, unknown; E. F. Blair, wounded, dead; Frank Bowden; W. T. Boswell, wounded, dead; William Burke, R. H. Bush; G. R. N. B. Bush, prisoner; C. W. Coleman, dead; P. T. Cowles, prisoner; D. S. Coles, dead; W. T. Coles, Tom Davis; S. S. Edwards, dead; Sylvanus Edwards, dead; G. H. Enos, wounded; Jerry Garnett, Joe Garnett, Robert Garnett; F. W. Hammond, dead; T. W. Hankins, dead; Charles [358] Hansford, B. C. Harwood, John Hicks, Oliver Hockaday, dead; Gustavus Hope, J. W. Hubbard, G. W. James, wounded, dead; ——Jeter, unknown; J. P. Johnson, B. A. Marston, dead; J. W. Marston, T. P. Marston, D. W. Marston, M. J. Martin, dead; M. Mattingly, dead; George Meanley, dead; ——Moon, Wm. Mountcastle, George Mountcastle, John Mountcastle;—— Muir, killed; F. C. Newman, dead; Archer Pamplin, unknown; Sam. Pettit, killed; W. M. Pierce, N. D. Piggott, dead; Hamilton Richardson, killed; C. H. Richardson, G. W. Richardson, Walter Shackford, killed; Sydney Smith, dead; Tom Sparrow, unknown; R. M. Spencer, killed; G. W. Stewart, dead; W. M. Taylor, Cyrus Tyree, dead; W. B. Vaiden, Algernon Vaiden, dead; Vulosko Vaiden, prisoner, dead; Robert Warburton, dead: Southey Ward, unknown; H. B. Warren, Watkins Warren, unknown; Robert Watkins, R. C. Whitaker, dead; G. W. Whitaker, R. C. Whitaker, dead; G. M. Whitaker, A. B. Willis, killed; Sam. Wooten, wounded; Tom Wynne, dead.



Promotions outside of the Company:

James H. Allen, lieutenant-colonel.

E. M. Ware, captain Confederate States Army.

Dr. C. W. Coleman, surgeon Confederate States Army.

Dr. Watkins Warren, surgeon Confederate States Navy.

Dr. R. H. Bush, surgeon Confederate States Army.

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